Effects of a U.S. Government Shutdown on Immigration
As of today, the federal budget for FY2022 is still being negotiated, with federal funding for the current fiscal year expiring on September 30, 2021. Although Congress may not be able to pass spending legislation by October 1st, it has the option of enacting short-term funding to keep the government open during ongoing negotiations. Therefore, the likelihood of a federal government shutdown is far from certain. Nevertheless, this article sheds light on the impacts to the U.S. immigration system should a shutdown occur.
USCIS: USCIS is funded by filing fees and as such, it will not be impacted by the federal budget and will continue to process applications and petitions.
Department of Labor: DOL will be impacted by a federal government shutdown. As such, Labor Condition Applications (required for H-1B and E3 petitions), labor certifications (PERMs) and prevailing wage determinations will temporarily cease to be processed even though such applications are typically submitted online.
Department of State: DOS visa processing (visa stamping) is funded by fees from visa applicants and therefore, visa processing functions will not be impacted. Most other operations of DOS, however, will cease during a shutdown.
Customs and Border Protection: Inspections at U.S. borders and ports of entry is an essential function and will not be impacted by budget issues. CBP will also continue to process immigration applications at the border.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement: ICE enforcement activities and operations of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) will also not be impacted.
E-Verify: E-Verify will be impacted (cease temporarily). Specifically, employers will not be able to initiate E-Verify queries, resolve tentative non-confirmations or meet other E-Verify deadlines.